What Size Skateboard Wheels Do You Need?
So, you’ve decided to get someone the gift of a skateboard this Christmas, and now you have to figure out what kind. It can be daunting, but if you’re up to wheels that means you have already chosen a deck and trucks. Those items will help determine what size skateboard wheels work with your skateboard.
Skateboard wheels vary in color, size and durability. Skateboard wheels are most commonly made of polyurethane. The diameter (width) and durometer (hardness) of the wheel affect the way the board rides. The diameter and durometer are a matter of personal preference and skating style.
Diameter – All skateboard wheels are measured in millimeters (mm). The smaller the number, the smaller the wheel. Smaller wheels are slower; bigger wheels are faster.
50-53mm – Small slower wheels, stable for trick riding and smaller riders skating street, skate parks and bowls.
54-59mm – Average wheel size for beginners and bigger riders skating street, skate parks, bowls and vert ramps.
60mm+ – Specialty riders skating longboards, old-school boards, downhill and dirt boards; made for speed and rougher surfaces.
What durometer skateboard wheels do I need?
Durometer measures the wheel’s hardness. Harder wheels are faster; softer wheels are slower but have better grip.
Skateboard wheel durometer is usually measured on a Durometer A Scale which goes from 1-100 to measure hardness. Some companies use the B Scale which measures 20 points lower, allowing the scale to be extended by 20 points for harder wheels. So an 80b durometer is the same as 100a durometer. These skateboard wheels have a larger and more accurate range of hardness. The average wheel durometer is 99a.
Smooth cruising – A 78a-87a wheel is the softest option with the most grip. It’s great for rough surfaces, longboards or street boards that need lots of grip to roll over cracks and pebbles. It’s designed for hills or rough surfaces, longboards or cruising around smoothly.
Getting faster – A 88a-95a wheel is slightly harder and faster, but the grip is still good. This is still a good option for the street and rough surfaces.
A blend of speed and grip – The 96a-99a is an all-around good wheel, with a balance of speed and grip that makes it a good choice for beginners skating street, skate parks, ramps and pools.
Now you’re flying! – The pros usually go for the 101a+ wheels. They’re hard and fast and have the least amount of grip, so they’re ineffective on slick and rough surfaces.